Technological advancement, along with other factors, is resulting in a seismic shift in the job landscape, leaving some professions on the brink of extinction.
In particular, data acquired by Finbold has highlighted the occupations projected to experience changes in employment in the U.S. between 2021 and 2031.
As of 2023 Q3, the role of the cashier is expected to be the top-ranking shrinking job, with 355,700 fewer positions by 2031. Secretaries and administrative assistants rank second, with an expected decline of 207,600 roles by 2031, while office clerks rank third, with 130,800 jobs projected to decrease.
Elsewhere, customer service representatives rank fourth among the fastest-shrinking jobs, with a decline of 105,300 positions. Executive secretaries and administrative assistants cap the top five spots at 102,600 projected jobs to decrease.
Drivers of shrinking jobs in the U.S.
The decline in these highlighted jobs can be attributed to a myriad of factors, with one key concern being the impending drop in labor force participation. The economy is grappling with the challenges posed by an aging population as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age, leading to a decline in the active workforce. This demographic shift leaves fewer people actively seeking employment, raising concerns among policymakers and economists due to its far-reaching impact on society and the economy.
Additionally, the occupations may be impacted by economic elements such as inflation. Notably, inflation can adversely affect certain jobs in multiple ways: reduced consumer spending due to decreased purchasing power, increased cost pressures leading to potential job losses, hindered borrowing and investments in borrowing-dependent sectors, a wage-price spiral, and negative impacts on occupations linked to declining industries or outdated technologies.
Another critical factor contributing to the shrinking job market is the mismatch between job seekers’ skills and the demands of employers. Rapid technological advancements create a demand for specialized skills, leaving many workers ill-equipped to adapt. Automation and the widespread adoption of productivity-boosting innovations, such as robotics and cloud-based software, also play a significant role in job displacement.
ChatGPT and declining jobs
In the face of these technological advancements, one innovation that is already gaining momentum is AI. Though still in its infancy stages, AI systems are viewed to have great potential to revolutionize many sectors and might have an effect on the human workforce.
The success of OpenAi’s ChatGPT, a cutting-edge chat-based AI tool, has already seen many businesses in the United States leverage it to handle various roles. According to data presented by Finbold, a survey of 1,000 American business leaders in Q1 2023 revealed that 66% of them use ChatGPT to write code, while copywriting and content creation follow closely at 58%, and customer support at 57%. Additionally, 52% of respondents indicated that they use ChatGPT to create summaries of meetings or documents.
As AI continues to evolve, its impact on the job market is undeniable. At the same time, AI presents a myriad of opportunities for businesses to optimize processes and enhance customer experiences. Its impact is evident in customer service, where AI-powered chatbots handle inquiries, reducing the need for human representatives.
Data entry roles are also automated as ChatGPT efficiently processes and interpret data. Additionally, it proves to be a cost-effective alternative for content creation and competes with human translators. Virtual assistants powered by ChatGPT are on the rise, potentially replacing human assistants. While AI offers advantages, striking a balance is crucial, ensuring human expertise and skills continue to play a vital role in the evolving job market.
AI’s impact on the labor market is expected to be significant. However, most jobs and industries will be complemented rather than replaced by AI, as they are only partially exposed to automation. Workers in such occupations will likely use their freed-up capacity to engage in productive activities, thereby increasing output.
Criticism of ChatGPT and the job market
Critics argue that while generative AI tools like ChatGPT have the potential to disrupt many jobs, it will take time to fully replace human beings. Currently, the technology is at an inflection point, being a breakthrough, but continuous improvement is needed in the medium term. It may take decades of development before generative AI can safely replace human tasks beyond specific areas, like self-driving cars, which still require human supervision due to safety limitations, despite significant progress made a decade ago.
While ChatGPT and other AI language models have revolutionized various industries, it’s essential to recognize that technological progress inevitably brings challenges and adjustments to the job market. The displacement of certain jobs can lead to economic and social implications, including unemployment and the need for workforce reskilling.
However, it is crucial to view this transformation through a balanced lens, acknowledging the numerous benefits that AI brings, such as increased efficiency, cost savings, and expanded opportunities in new AI-related fields.
As technology permeates various industries, the need for managing and regulating these innovations will open up new job opportunities. Striking the right balance between innovation and responsibility will be crucial in shaping the future of industries.